Media Advisories

“A Groundbreaking Achievement”: Congress Passes “Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act”

Date: 
Dec 8, 2016

 

Enough Project applauds historic, bipartisan effort to combat corruption, protect journalists, whistleblowers, and human rights defenders around the world

Washington, DC – Today, the United States Congress passed historic legislation empowering the U.S. government with the authority to place sanctions on corrupt public officials across the world who misappropriate state assets as well as anyone who attacks journalists and human rights defenders. 

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 passed in the Senate today, following passage in the House of Representatives last Friday. The NDAA includes a provision on human rights sanctions known as the “Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.” Once signed into law, Global Magnitsky gives the President standing authority to impose sanctions on non-U.S. citizens guilty of corruption or gross human rights violations perpetrated against whistleblowers. Global Magnitsky also enhances congressional involvement in the designation of individuals to be investigated for human rights violations, and helps to ensure that U.S. financial institutions are not complicit in supporting those profiting off of atrocities.

The Global Magnitsky Act brings a unique focus to corruption and the illicit gain acquired through acts of corruption and especially with regard to those in government positions, those who are complicit in corrupt acts, and those who facilitate or transfer the proceeds of corruption to foreign jurisdictions.

The NDAA now heads to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. 

Ian Schwab, Director of Advocacy and Impact Strategy at the Enough Project, said: “Passage of the Global Magnitsky Act demonstrates what is possible when members of both parties working together in the House and Senate identify a problem and put forward a constructive solution. Congress should use this legislation and the tools it provides to ensure that there are consequences for those leaders stealing from their own people and crushing dissent.”

J.R. Mailey, Senior Policy Analyst for Illicit Finance and Conflict at the Enough Project, said: “Journalists and civil society activists around the world are on the front lines of the fight against corruption, oppression, and human rights violations. This puts many courageous reporters and activists directly in harm's way, as many who seek to expose corruption or government abuses are subject to harassment, intimidation and violence. Such abuse continues, in part, because the officials responsible for attacks on civil society and the press believe they will suffer no consequences. The passage of the Global Magnitsky Act will help change the equation.”

Rachel Finn, Advocacy Manager at the Enough Project, said: “The Global Magnitsky Act is a groundbreaking achievement in the realm of atrocity prevention. Not only does it make explicit the critical nexus between corruption and human rights abuses around the globe, but this bipartisan initiative also establishes a foundational framework through which real action can be taken against perpetrators and enablers of some of the worst crimes known to humanity. We are grateful to the ongoing work of Senators Cardin (D-MD) and McCain (R-AZ), Representatives Smith (R-NJ) and McGovern (D-MA), and each chamber's Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees for their tireless efforts ensuring the U.S. Government has the tools necessary to focus on human rights and peace internationally.”

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

Enough’s Lezhnev to Congress: US has Leverage to Prevent Further Crisis in Congo

Date: 
Nov 29, 2016

 

In a hearing before the U.S. Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission today on “Democracy and Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, presented testimony on strategies to avoid a violent crisis in the Congo, in particular through the use of greater U.S. financial pressure to create leverage in support of a democratic transition process. He testified alongside Congolese LUCHA human rights activist Fred Bauma, U.S. Special Envoy Tom Perriello, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski, Ida Sawyer of Human Rights Watch, and professional lecturer Mvemba Dizolele. 

Lezhnev put forth a three-part strategy for the U.S. government:

  1. Financial pressure through anti-money laundering measures
  2. Political and financial pressure through enhanced targeted sanctions
  3. Appointing a new U.S. Special Envoy

 

Selected excerpts from official testimony to the Commission by Sasha Lezhnev:

  • “President Joseph Kabila’s attempt to hold on to power risks taking Congo back 15 years to mass violence and absence of the rule of law. On the other hand, a successful democratic transition would help move the rule of law forward, increase security across the country, including in conflict-ridden eastern Congo, and lay the foundation for responsible businesses to invest.”
     
  • “The key to changing this equation, preventing a wider violent crisis, and starting the process of reform away from violent kleptocracy is to impose serious consequences on the leaders and their business partners who profit most from violence, illicit resource extraction, theft, and undermining democracy.”
     
  • “The United States has an opportunity now to be on the right side of what has been an all-too-often bloody history in Congo. With the right combination of financial pressure and diplomacy, it can work with the Congolese people and help them have their first ever peaceful transfer of power and prevent a violent crisis that would risk breaking the Great Lakes of Africa apart again, costing thousands of lives, subverting the will of Congo’s citizens, creating a terrible investment climate, and costing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to respond.”

Key recommendations in Lezhnev’s testimony:

  • Congress should urge the U.S. Treasury Department to take measures to counter money laundering activities that transit from banks in Congo to the international financial system, together with key European governments, particularly Belgium and the UK.
     
  • The U.S. government should designate a short list of high-level officials and advisors with strong influence on President Kabila.
     
  • Looking forward, Congress should urge the Trump administration to issue a new U.S. Executive Order on Congo that expressly includes corruption as a reason to place targeted sanctions on individuals in Congo.
     
  • It is imperative that the Trump administration continues the special envoy position and appoints a new person to the job as soon as it begins. The United States has been the leader on international policy on Congo, as Europe has been too slow. Without an envoy, Kabila will take advantage of the U.S. policy gap, and move ahead rapidly to subvert democracy and put the country at major risk. 

 

Click here to read details on the recommendations and the full testimony of Sasha Lezhnev: http://eno.ug/2gFt905  

Hearing video: https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/events/hearings/democracy-and-human-rights-democratic-republic-congo

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

Enough’s Lezhnev to Testify in Congress on Preventing Violence through Financial Pressure in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Date: 
Nov 28, 2016

 

TomorrowNovember 29, Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, will testify alongside a distinguished panel of senior U.S. officials and Congolese and international activists before the U.S. Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on “Democracy and Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” 

Lezhnev, author of the recent Enough Project report “A Criminal State: Understanding and countering institutionalized corruption and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” will present testimony on strategies to avoid a much more violent crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular through the use of greater U.S. financial pressure to leverage a successful democratic transition process. 

For press unable to attend the hearing will be available for viewing on livestream.

When: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST

Where: Room 2255, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC. Click here for details.

Livestreamhttps://humanrightscommission.house.gov/  

Witnesses:

Panel I

  • Tom Perriello, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, U.S. Department of State
  • Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State

Panel II

  • Ida Sawyer, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch 
  • Fred Bauma, LUCHA
  • Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy, Enough Project
  • Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Professorial Lecturer, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies  

Hearing details: https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/events/hearings/democracy-and-human-rights-democratic-republic-congo

Interview availability: Mr. Lezhnev will be available for selected media interviews following the hearing. For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

U.S. to Introduce UN Security Council Resolution for Targeted Sanctions, Arms Embargo on South Sudan

Date: 
Nov 17, 2016

 

As threat of genocide looms, Enough Project lauds urgently-needed step, calls for swift adoption

Today, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power announced that the U.S. will introduce a resolution in the U.N. Security Council for targeted sanctions and an arms embargo for South Sudan. The Enough Project urges U.N. Security Council members to support the resolution to address the crisis in South Sudan. 

John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “South Sudan faces the very real threat of genocide. It is critical that the U.N. Security Council not stand idly by while the crisis intensifies. A resolution by the United States will be a critical first step to demonstrating that the international community will create significant consequences for the commission of mass atrocities.”

Prendergast added, "Every genocide early warning system is flashing red in South Sudan today. All of the classic elements are present for mass atrocities to unfold, and when atrocities are targeted at specific communities on the basis of their identity, that is genocide. The UN Security Council has the tools to bring pressure to bear on those that would consider using mass atrocities to maintain or gain power. In the 21st century, we need to draw a line in the sand and say that genocidal action will not be allowed to occur without a significant consequence."

  • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng have both warned in recent days of the threat of genocide in South Sudan.
  • Many South Sudanese people and U.N. officials have called repeatedly for an arms embargo.
  • More than 2.8 million people have been displaced in South Sudan since conflict began in December 2013.
Read the September 2015 investigative report from The Sentry providing evidence of high-level corruption linked to individuals named in U.N. Security Council reporting for their responsibility for conflict and atrocities: https://thesentry.org/reports/warcrimesshouldntpay/

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:

Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

About THE SENTRY
The Sentry seeks to disrupt and dismantle the networks of military officers, government officials, businessmen, arms dealers, bankers, and other enablers who benefit financially and politically from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. Our investigations follow the money from conflict zones and into global economic centers, using open source data collection, field research, document collection, and state-of-the-art network analysis technology. The Sentry provides information and analysis that engages civil society and media, supports regulatory action and prosecutions, and provides policymakers and the private sector with the information they require to take effective action. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of the Enough Project and Not On Our Watch (NOOW), with its implementing partner C4ADS. Current countries of focus are South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. Learn more at TheSentry.org

EU Hosts Brussels Donor Conference on Central African Republic

Date: 
Nov 16, 2016

 

As international community gathers this Thursday, Enough Project urges donors to prioritize fight against illicit financial flows and ending impunity for those who perpetuate violence and steal country’s wealth

Washington, DC: Tomorrow, the European Union in partnership with the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR) will host the Brussels Conference. At the Conference, representatives of the international community will meet to discuss how donors can provide support to CAR and the government of President Faustin Archange Touadéra. 

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis.

Brad Brooks-Rubin, Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “The Brussels donor conference has an opportunity to change the dynamics of conflict and corruption in CAR, or to perpetuate the status quo while providing humanitarian relief. This is the fifth donor conference in ten years. In order for this effort to be different and achieve lasting results, the international community must balance its attention to the immediate needs of the people with the long-term goals of enabling good governance, rooting out corruption, and eliminating the incentives for armed groups to continue fighting instead of pursuing peace.”

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “Among many daunting priorities to discuss in Brussels, donors must elevate accountability for serious crimes. Plans for a Special Criminal Court are emerging as a bright spot in CAR's justice landscape. This is an area where international support is sorely needed to support the demands of civil society, who want and deserve to see prosecutions for gross human rights violations and financial crimes like trafficking and money-laundering. The discussions in Brussels, if bold and pragmatic, could lead to new justice models for the entire region.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: " In CAR, the system of violent kleptocracy has been at the heart of a state of permanent war. In this system, competing networks of actors within the government and armed groups, enabled by foreign powers and the business community, are engaged in armed conflict and corruption to protect personal interests. Breaking with a long history of violence means that the international community must change its strategy by ending rampant impunity and fighting against illicit financial flows.”

Read Brooks-Rubin’s op-ed on the conference, published this week in Jeune Afriqueop-ed in French and English translation.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

New Study Shows Congo is Run as Violent Kleptocracy

Date: 
Oct 27, 2016

 

In-depth report shows D.R. Congo is not a “failed state,” as it functions highly efficiently for ruling elites, certain commercial partners who profit immensely; Paradigm shift is needed by policymakers to use financial, legal pressure tools to target leaders most responsible for violence, corruption, and undermining democracy.

In a major report released today, the Enough Project shows that the Democratic Republic of Congo is not a “failed state,” exposing a highly functioning system of violence and corruption structured to allow President Joseph Kabila and his close associates to maintain power and profit from natural resource deals at the expense of country’s development.

The comprehensive study that analyzes Congo’s political economy over the past 130 years, “A Criminal State: Understanding and Countering Institutionalized Corruption and Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” authored by Sasha Lezhnev, the second in the Enough Project series “Violent Kleptocracy: Corruption and Conflict in East and Central Africa,” will be presented at an event today in Washington, DC, and will be livestreamed at 10 a.m. EDT.

Sasha Lezhnev, report author and Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “It is time for a paradigm shift on policy thinking on Congo. Supporting Congolese reformers to transform the country requires a strategy to tackle the violent kleptocratic system head-on. The U.S. and Europe must impose significant consequences for the leaders that maintain it, in particular by using the tools of financial pressure normally reserved for countering nuclear proliferation. Congo’s business deals are made in U.S. dollars, thus touching the international banking system, so the international community has powerful leverage it is not using nearly enough.”

The current crisis in the DRC, the report argues, is the latest iteration of a longer pattern of violence and corruption and urges policymakers and the international community to respond with financial pressure tools that directly target those leaders benefiting from the violent kleptocratic system.

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “For too long, Congo's entrenched systems of theft and violence have been left to thrive. That has led to the death of millions of civilians, and now an acute constitutional crisis at the highest level of power. It has also spurred a mass popular movement demanding that Kabila must go, asserting the rights of the people to a democratic transition. There has never been a more important time for policy makers to view Congo as a hijacked -- not a failed -- state, and use the financial and legal tools at their disposal before this crisis reaches a fever pitch.”

Lezhnev added: “U.S. and international policy goals on Congo should be to create accountability for financial and human rights crimes; and to create new leverage for peace, human rights, and governance reforms. This would comprise a new, unique financial pressure approach that would create real leverage in support of processes that can bring change in Congo. The aim would be to freeze those committing atrocities and undermining peace out of the international financial system.”

The Congolese government has increased repression in recent months. In September, a government crackdown on demonstrations to hold elections on time killed over 48 protesters, according to the United Nations. Over the past 18 months, numerous democracy activists have been jailed and radio, international human rights advocates have been kicked out of the country, and radio and TV stations have been shut down.

Report recommendations:

1. Financial pressure: For a policy of financial pressure aimed at reforms, the United States and other actors within the international community should combine the use of anti-money laundering measures with widened, enforced targeted sanctions designations. This would comprise a new and unique financial pressure approach that would create real leverage in support of processes that can bring change in Congo.

  • Implementing anti-money laundering measures
  • Enacting higher-level and robustly enforced targeted sanctions

2. Accountability: The International Criminal Court (ICC), the United States, Central and East African nations, and European states should use judicial tools to target the facilitators of violence, prosecute corruption-related crimes, and bolster atrocity crimes cases with a strategy to target assets stolen by those responsible for serious crimes to impose real accountability.

  • Targeting the facilitators of violence and prosecuting pillage
  • Seizing criminally derived assets
  • Prosecuting corruption-related crimes

3. Good governance and transparency: The overall objective of policymakers should be a reformed, functional state that is responsive to Congolese citizens’ needs. While pursuing financial and legal pressure to create immediate costs for current corrupt and violent behavior, the U.S., European, African, Asian, and multilateral institutions should support long-term democratic and transparency processes, governance reforms, and needed capacities by taking the following steps:

  • Reforming aid, focusing on including strong anti-corruption provisions.
  • Pressing for the publication of financial reports and audits of state-owned companies such as Gécamines and the China contract
  • Strengthening EITI implementation and urge completion of the Mining Code review
  • Supporting civil society with increased legal aid, protection, and capacity building

The report analyzes Congo’s political economy over the past 130 years, revealing seven main pillars of violent kleptocracy that have been used in various forms to rule the country, from the days of King Leopold II to the present.

  1. Let the security forces pay themselves. Mobutu said, “You have guns, you don’t need a salary.”  In order to prevent being overthrown by force, the regime allows army commanders to become wealthy by exploiting resources and citizens, thus fueling cycles of conflict.
     
  2. Stay in power, or possibly lose everything. Leaving office can mean that regime-connected elites lose their ill-gotten gains and immunity from prosecution. Pro-democracy movements are thus repressed, often violently, as they are threats to the corrupt system.
     
  3. Ensure there is little to no accountability for regime-connected elites. Impunity is the glue that holds the system together. Judicial systems target regime opponents or low-level figures, not high-level perpetrators of corruption or human rights abuses.
     
  4. Create parallel state structures and co-opt rebel groups to weaken political threats. Parallel chains of command are set up to ensure loyalty; rebels are brought into the army without vetting or real integration. The bloated army then commits abuses and collaborates with armed groups.
     
  5. Ensure that high-level officials benefit from corruption. If appointed to a military post or government office, the official is expected to pass payments up the chain. This system, “rapportage,” has led the real tax burden for Congolese citizens to be around 55 percent.
     
  6. Personally profit from natural resource deals, underspend on services, and hijack reforms. The regime receives bribes from certain outsiders to sell resources at very low prices, then outsiders flip them for large profits, depriving the Congolese state of massive revenue. Transparency reforms such as the Extractive Indsutries Transparency Initiative (EITI) help a bit, but the main vehicles for corruption—state-owned companies and their foreign shell company partners—remain opaque. The government deliberately underspends on public services, as its focus is on patronage.
     
  7. Confuse everyone by creating uncertainty on policies in order to increase corruption. The government creates institutions that contradict its own laws or policies, and state agencies impose and collect their own taxes, which increases predation.

LINK TO THE FULL REPORT: http://eno.ug/2dFQUDt. (French translation of executive summary also available)

EVENT DATE TIME: Thursday, October 27, 2016 | 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. EDT

EVENT LOCATION: 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036

EVENT LIVESTREAM: http://eno.ug/2e4UYOz

FOR MEDIA: For media planning to attend the event in person, please email: press@enoughproject.org. For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

EVENT & LIVESTREAM: “Combating Violent Kleptocracy in the Congo”

Date: 
Oct 19, 2016
 

Enough Project to present major report detailing new approach to create leverage for democratic change and human rights protections  as the Democratic Republic of Congo faces electoral crisis and violence

WHAT: On Thursday, October 27, in Washington DC, the Enough Project and distinguished guests will host “Combating Violent Kleptocracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A New Approach to Create Leverage for Democratic Change and Human Rights Protections.”

The event will launch a new Enough Project comprehensive study authored by Sasha Lezhnev, "A Criminal State: Understanding and Countering Institutionalized Corruption and Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo." The report is the second installment in the Enough Project’s "Violent Kleptocracy: Corruption and Conflict in East and Central Africa" Series.

Panelists will discuss new policy options for addressing the current crisis in Congo, including using tools of financial and judicial pressure that are normally reserved for combating nuclear proliferation and terrorism, as well as new strategies for good governance.

For media unable to attend, the presentation will be simulcast on livestream video. 

Bagels and coffee will be available at the event.

SPEAKERS:

  • Dr. Pierre Englebert, H. Russell Smith Professor of International Relations and Professor of African Politics, Pomona College
  • Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy, Enough Project
  • Nita Evele, Board Member, Panzi Foundation
  • Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst, Enough Project
  • * Speakers may be added

       Introductory remarks by

DATE/TIME: Thursday, October 27, 2016  |   10:00 - 11:30 a.m. EDT

EVENT LOCATION: 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036

CONTEXT: Over the past 130 years, Congo has exhibited many elements of violent kleptocracy, a system of state capture in which ruling networks and commercial partners hijack governing institutions and maintain impunity for the purpose of resource extraction and for the security of the regime. Ruling networks utilize varying levels of violence to maintain power and repress dissenting voices. This system plays out today with the current regime’s attempt to subvert a democratic transition, as President Joseph Kabila and his associates profit from grand corruption and are trying by all means necessary to hold on to power. The report, based on field and historic research, reveals seven pillars of violent kleptocracy manifest in the government of Congo, including letting security forces pay themselves and ensuring regime-connected elites are not held accountable for crimes.

FOR MEDIA: For media planning to attend the event in person, please email: press@enoughproject.org. For media inquiries, interview requests, and to obtain the livestream link and advance copies of the report, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT

The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

Enough Project’s Prendergast: Violent Kleptocracies Threaten Africa’s Future

Date: 
Oct 18, 2016

 

New policy brief by Enough Founding Director details how corrupt networks have hijacked states in East and Central Africa, and how the resulting kleptocratic systems can be dismantled

In a new policy brief published today, John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, details the devastation caused by violent kleptocracies in some African states, and offers a set of innovative recommendations to dismantle those corrupt and violent systems. In the 4-page brief, “Violent Kleptocracies: How they’re destroying parts of Africa and how they can be dismantled,” Prendergast argues that existing approaches to stopping mass atrocities and ending war in Africa have not succeeded, and major new policy approaches are required.

The brief is the first in the Enough Project's new report series “Violent Kleptocracy: Corruption and Conflict in East and Central Africa.”

The brief describes how elite networks have captured and maintained control of state institutions using extreme violence, and how those orchestrating the wars in East and Central Africa, along with their international collaborators, are vulnerable due to illicit money flows, corrupt dealings, money laundering, and fixed assets abroad. Anti-money laundering tools, asset recovery measures, and aggressive Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement have not yet been used in the service of peace and human rights in Africa, but, according to the brief, they could and should be.

EXCERPTS:

  • The Problem - Mass Atrocities and Hijacked States:

“Millions of people have suffered and perished in the ongoing wars in East and Central Africa, including Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. The big prize in these deadly conflicts is the control of a hijacked state and the natural resource wealth of the country. This enables mass looting of state resources and diverting state budgets into military and security spending to perpetrate wars and to maintain power by any means necessary.”

  • The Solution - A New Approach to Stopping Mass Atrocities:

Because existing approaches to stopping mass atrocities and ending war in Africa have not succeeded, a major change in policy is needed. The Enough Project’s recommendations are threefold, with a focus on dismantling the kleptocratic networks that have hijacked states in conflict, reforming incentive structures away from war and toward peace, and helping to build functional and transparent state institutions.”

“Key tools of financial pressure, most successful when applied together:

- Highly targeted and aggressively enforced sanctions aimed at leading government and private officials and entities, along with their corresponding networks, which can include family members complicit in hiding funds or in acting as shareholders in companies controlled by the officials. These sanctions would include both asset freezes and travel bans.

- Anti-money laundering tools that focus on supporting efforts by banks to freeze offenders out of the international financial system.

- Asset recovery mechanisms including civil actions and prosecutions that lead to the freezing, seizing, and returning of assets stolen by war leaders and their international collaborators.

- Aggressive Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement.”

  • The Endgame - A Functional State that Prioritizes Peace and Human Rights:

In the long term, peace and human rights in East and Central Africa—as anywhere—require transparent governance marked by effective checks and balances and concerted efforts at addressing root causes of conflict and corruption. Thus, good governance and anti-corruption tools are fundamental to enabling long-term peace and human security.”

“Longer-term tools and approaches:

- Peace processes that address systemic causes rather than just symptoms

- Greater support for civil society organizations working for peace, human rights, and good governance

- Real accountability measures for financial and human rights crimes

- Equitable management of natural resource wealth in the public interest

- Responsible management of public finances

- Governance reforms

- Budget and contracting transparency

- Security sector reform

- Effective demobilization and reintegration programs”

Read the full policy brief: “Violent Kleptocracies: How they’re destroying parts of Africa and how they can be dismantled”: http://eno.ug/2dmow9e

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

EU Announces Increased Pressure to Address Crisis in Congo

Date: 
Oct 17, 2016

 

Enough Project welcomes this step, but the EU must follow up with targeted financial pressure and strong enforcement

Today, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council announced support for individual sanctions to address the escalating political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In its statement today, the Council said, "The EU will use all the means at its disposal, including individual restrictive measures against those responsible for serious human rights violations...and those who would try to obstruct a consensual and peaceful solution to the crisis." The statement is binding on all 28 member states and thus calls on authorities throughout Europe to engage in enforcement. 

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “The EU has a powerful role to play to mitigate this crisis. Member states have been sitting back, far too quiet about the repression and its implications for Congo's future. The announcement today signals an important shift in Europe toward a more unified position against political repression and forever-presidents in Congo.”

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: "We welcome the EU's first step today, but it must be followed up with strong financial pressure if it is to be effective- anti-money laundering measures, asset freezes, and travel bans against kleptocratic leaders. Congolese officials have properties in Europe and travel there frequently, so those measures would have a strong impact.”

John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “Now that the EU has moved, the U.S. government should ratchet up its pressure on Congo in order to help facilitate a timely democratic transition in Congo. The U.S. should strongly enforce sanctions and anti-money laundering steps, complemented by support to civil society and protection for civilians facing an increasingly hard-handed state apparatus.”

The EU action follows a recent spike in violent repression by the Congolese government, including brutal crackdowns on September 19 and 20 against peaceful pro-election demonstrations that led to the deaths of at least 44 people and the arrest of dozens of protestors. The Congolese government has announced that presidential elections, originally scheduled for November this year, will be delayed, potentially until December 2018.

Since June this year, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has placed three high-level Congolese officials on its Specially Designated Nationals List:  General Gabriel Amisi Kumba, head of the First National Defense Zone; Major General John Numbi Banza Tambo, former Inspector General of Congo’s National Police; and General Célestin Kanyama, the Police Commissioner of Kinshasa.

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

U.S. has financial tools to counter atrocities in Africa’s deadliest war zones, says new report

Date: 
Oct 11, 2016

 

“Bankrupting Kleptocracy” report to be presented today at Carnegie in DC

A new report, “Bankrupting Kleptocracy: Financial Tools to Counter Atrocities in Africa’s Deadliest War Zones,” by the Enough Project, highlights three types of potent financial pressure tools that the U.S. can use to build leverage in the fight against violent kleptocracy: targeted sanctions, anti-money laundering provisions, and anti-bribery laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The U.S. government has used these tools to counter terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and organized crime. These tools, the authors argue, can also be used to fight violent kleptocracy in East and Central Africa.

The report, authored by J.R. Mailey and Jacinth Planer, will be launched at an event today at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. Click here for event details and to watch the livestream at 2pm EDT.

J.R. Mailey, report author and Senior Policy Analyst for Illicit Finance & Conflict at the Enough Project, said: “In several conflict-affected countries in East and Central Africa, the state has been hijacked and transformed from an institution that is supposed to provide social services and safeguard the rule of law into a predatory criminal enterprise that does quite the opposite. Kleptocratic networks use state power to loot public coffers and natural resource wealth with impunity, and sideline or silence those who get in their way.”

John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project, said: “For decades, the United States and other international donors have poured billions of dollars into peace talks and endless peacekeeping missions. Although these efforts can be valuable parts of an effective peacebuilding strategy, they often fail to achieve the desired result because they don't address a core root cause and driver of war: the warped incentive structures of officials who hijack state institutions, loot public funds and natural resources, and use extreme violence to maintain their grip on power.”

The report notes that the globalized economy allows kleptocrats and their enablers to store, move, and launder ill-gotten gains. The U.S. government can, with its partners, leverage the interconnectivity of the global economy, the size and primacy of the U.S. financial system, and the significance of the U.S. dollar in global trade and money exchange to target kleptocrats and their ill-gotten gains.

Prendergast added: “Tools of financial pressure—especially highly-targeted and robustly enforced sanctions and anti-money laundering measures—that have successfully been used for other national security objectives should increasingly be deployed to create leverage in preventing atrocities and resolving these conflicts.” 

“Violent kleptocracy,” a system in which ruling networks and commercial partners capture the state and hijack governing institutions to extract resources and maintain the security of the regime, has had disastrous results in East and Central Africa. The looting and diversion of resources has stifled commerce and economic development, facilitated a wide range of criminal activities, and stoked violence and the commission of mass atrocities.

The report argues that the fight against corruption must become much more of a pillar and a central focus of U.S. engagement with these countries as leaders and members of society work together to shift the incentive structures underpinning political, economic, and military decision-making by ruthless elites.

Brad Brooks-Rubin, Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “When developing strategies for engagement in conflicts in East and Central Africa—a region home to several of the longest-standing and deadliest conflicts in human history—the U.S. government must acknowledge that the wholesale theft of state assets is a central feature of each crisis. Supporting efforts to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance need to become a cornerstone of U.S. engagement with East and Central African countries that have been plagued by violent kleptocracy.”

Mailey added: “The politicians, military officials and warlords most responsible for mass atrocities and widespread looting often do so without suffering any consequences for their misconduct. The tools of financial pressure can help change that and, ultimately, chip away at the environment of impunity."

Tools highlighted in the report:

Targeted Sanctions:

  • Targeted financial sanctions are a potent tool to counter kleptocracy precisely because of their ability to impact the target the wealth of senior officials within kleptocratic regimes.
  • Sanctions can be used to alter incentives to violently extract wealth and repress dissent by:
    1. Targeting the wealth of senior officials
    2. Targeting individuals who engage in public corruption, undermine democracy, or stifle free speech and assembly
    3. Targeting those who facilitate and enable kleptocracy (lawyers, wealth managers)
    4. Targeting secondary actors who do business with those who are under sanctions
    5. Targeting certain business sectors but not others
    6. Limiting the negative impact on humanitarian and social services by clarifying and expanding sanctions exemptions.

Anti-Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture:

  • Numerous anti-money laundering (AML) statutes provide the U.S. government with the power to trace, block and, in some cases, seize the illicit proceeds of overseas corruption. Anyone who knowingly facilitates the movement of the illicit funds into or through the United States (including the U.S. financial system) engages in money laundering and could be subject to criminal prosecution as a result.
  • The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has significant authority to place enhanced due diligence requirements on financial institutions, investigate financial crimes, and even impose sanctions-like prohibitions on overseas entities believed to be involved in money laundering. Moving forward, FinCEN should use these powers to identify banks, institutions, and classes of transactions that kleptocrats use to loot and launder state assets.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Laws:

  • A foundational element of the U.S. framework for countering violent kleptocracy is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). This law imposes a compliance requirement that places certain record-keeping and accounting requirements on U.S. firms doing business overseas and criminalizes bribery of foreign officials in order to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Tools like the FCPA should be more vigorously deployed in countries marked by violent kleptocracy where its impact will be more effective and meaningful in terms of saving lives.

LINK TO THE FULL REPORT: http://eno.ug/2d3v67P

EVENT DATE TIME: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 | 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EDT

EVENT LOCATION: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

EVENT LIVESTREAM: http://eno.ug/2dGbNia

FOR MEDIA: For media planning to attend the event in person, please email: press@enoughproject.org. For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

Syndicate content